Willacy reports seventh COVID-19 case

RAYMONDVILLE — A woman in her 60s has become Willacy County’s seventh confirmed case of the coronavirus — and the second reported in two days.

The woman has been isolated, Dr. Emilie Prot, Region 11’s regional medical director, stated Wednesday in a press release.

Officials are trying to determine whether the woman’s case is linked to a previous case, Frank Torres, Willacy County’s emergency management coordinator, said.

“The Department of Health is trying to track that,” he said. “It takes time to do contact investigations.”

State health officials are investigating whether the woman may have infected others with the COVID-19 virus.

“DSHS is supporting Willacy County in identifying any close contacts of the patient so they can be isolated and monitored for symptoms,” Prot stated.

Officials are “conducting contact investigation on persons who have tested positive to determine possible exposure to others,” she stated.


Two cases in two days


On Tuesday, health officials confirmed a woman in her 20s had become the county’s sixth case of the coronavirus — the first since April 4 in this sparsely populated farming area of about 22,000 residents.

That case has been linked to a previous case, Prot stated.

“It’s been two in a row in two days,” Raymondville Mayor Gilbert Gonzales said. “I just hope it stops there. If it doesn’t, we might be going into an upward trend.”


Nursing home clear of virus


While two Harlingen nursing homes have sparked about 40 percent of Cameron County’s confirmed cases, Retama Manor has worked to keep the keep the COVID-19 virus out of the Raymondville nursing home, Gonzales said.

“Fortunately nothing has come out of there,” he said of the nursing home’s director. “He’s keeping it locked down — no visitors, just providers and doctors. He’s constantly checking employees for fever.”


Officials urge order compliance


Torres urged residents to abide by social distancing guidelines and shelter-in-place orders.

Last week, County Judge Aurelio Guerra extended shelter-in-place orders through April 30, mandating residents use facial coverings to help prevent the virus’ spread.

“People need to continue to maintain social distancing and stay-at-home (practices),” Torres said. “That’s all we know that works. We’re not over this yet.”

As part of his order, Guerra limited motorists’ cars to one adult passenger, Gonzales said.

“We want to make sure everybody is abiding by the order — covering their fase, two adults in a car to keep a lot of people from going to the store at the same time,” he said. “We want to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus.”




Late last week, the county’s seven clinics had tested 198 residents, finding 163 negative, with about 30 test results pending, Dr. Mario Sanchez, the county’s health director, said at the time.

Test results can take one to 14 days, depending on whether state or private labs conduct the tests, Torres said.